For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Romans 6:4 et seq.; Romans 8:34; 1Corinthians 15:22 et seq.; 2Corinthians 4:10-11; Philippians 3:10.Romans 5:9. The apostle dwells on the thought, and places it in a new light, furnishing thus a strong confirmation of his position.
When we were enemies - The work was undertaken while we were enemies. From being enemies we were changed to friends by that work. Thus, it was commenced by God; its foundation was laid while we were still hostile to it; it evinced, therefore, a determined purpose on the part of God to perform it; and he has thus given a pledge that it shall be perfected.
We were reconciled - Note, Matthew 5:24. We are brought to an agreement; to a state of friendship and union. We became his friends, laid aside our opposition, and embraced him as our friend and portion. To effect this is the great design of the plan of salvation; 2 Corinthians 5:1-20; Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 2:16. It means that there were obstacles existing on both sides to a reconciliation; and that these have been removed by the death of Christ; and that a union has thus been effected. This has been done in removing the obstacles on the part of God - by maintaining the honor of his Law; showing his hatred of sin; upholding his justice, and maintaining his truth, at the same time that he pardons; Note, Romans 3:26. And on the part of man, by removing his unwillingness to be reconciled; by subduing, changing, and sanctifying his heart; by overcoming his hatred of God, and of his Law; and bringing him into submission to the government of God. So that the Christian is in fact reconciled to God; he is his friend; he is pleased with his Law, his character, and his plan of salvation. And all this has been accomplished by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as an offering in our place.
Much more - It is much more to be expected; there are still stronger and more striking considerations to show it.
By his life - We were reconciled by his death. Death may include possibly his low, humble, and suffering condition. Death has the appearance of great feebleness; the death of Christ had the appearance of the defeat of his plans. His enemies triumphed and rejoiced over him on the cross, and in the tomb. Yet the effect of this feeble, low, and humiliating state was to reconcile us to God. If in this state, when humble, despised, dying, dead, he had power to accomplish so great a work as to reconcile us to God, how much more may we expect that he will be able to keep us now that he is a living, exalted, and triumphant Redeemer. If his fainting powers in dying were such as to reconcile us, how much more shall his full, vigorous powers as an exalted Redeemer, be sufficient to keep and save us. This argument is but an expansion of what the Saviour himself said; John 14:19, "Because I live, ye shall live also."
reconciled, we shall be saved by his life—that is "If that part of the Saviour's work which cost Him His blood, and which had to be wrought for persons incapable of the least sympathy either with His love or His labors in their behalf—even our 'justification,' our 'reconciliation'—is already completed; how much more will He do all that remains to be done, since He has it to do, not by death agonies any more, but in untroubled 'life,' and no longer for enemies, but for friends—from whom, at every stage of it, He receives the grateful response of redeemed and adoring souls?" To be "saved from wrath through Him," denotes here the whole work of Christ towards believers, from the moment of justification, when the wrath of God is turned away from them, till the Judge on the great white throne shall discharge that wrath upon them that "obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ"; and that work may all be summed up in "keeping them from falling, and presenting them faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24): thus are they "saved from wrath through Him."We were reconciled to God; put into a capacity of reconciliation, God being by Christ’s death made reconcilable, and also actually reconciled, when we believe, through the merits of the death of Christ.
We shall be saved by his life; i.e. by the resurrection to life. Salvation is ascribed to the resurrection and life of Christ, because he thereby doth perfect our salvation, he ever living to make intercession for us, Hebrews 12:25; and because by his resurrection and life we shall be raised to eternal life at that day.
by the death of his Son. Reconciliation implies a former state of friendship, a breach of that friendship, and a making of it up again; which no ways contradicts the everlasting and unchangeable love of God to his people; for this is not a reconciliation of God to them, but of them to God:
we were reconciled to God; not God to us; and this reconciliation is for their sins, an atonement for them, rather than of their persons; which being done, their persons are reconciled, not to the love, grace, and mercy of God, or to his affections, in which they always had a share, but to the justice of God injured and offended by their sins; and so both justice and holiness on one side, and love, grace, and mercy on the other, are reconciled together, in the business of their salvation; which is brought about by the sufferings and death of Christ: this expresses the wonderful love of God, since this reconciliation arises purely from himself; the scheme of it is of his own contriving; he, whose justice was affronted, and whose law was broken, took the first step towards it, and conducted the whole affair; and which was effected at the expense of the blood and life of his own Son, and that for persons who were enemies to them both. In consequence of this, another reconciliation of them is made by the Spirit of God in regenerations, of which notice is taken in this passage:
much more being reconciled: to God, as a sovereign God, in his decrees, in his providences, and in the method of salvation by his Son; to Christ, to the way of salvation by him, so as to submit both to his righteousness for justification, and to the sceptre of his kingdom, to be ruled and governed by it; to the Spirit, so as to be led by him, to walk after him, and to depend upon him for the carrying on, and finishing the good work of grace begun in them; to the people of God, so as to love them, and delight in their company; and to the Gospel and ordinances, so as highly to value them, long after them, and take pleasure in them. Now from both these reconciliations is inferred the sure and certain salvation of persons so reconciled:
we shall be saved by his life; by the life of Christ, and which designs not so much his life as God; or his living in the hearts of his people by faith; though neither of them are to be excluded; but his life, as man, and that not either his private or public life, as man here on earth, though this has an influence upon, and a concern in the business of salvation; but more especially here is meant the interceding life of Christ in heaven, where he lives, and ever lives to make intercession for his people, and to see the salvation he has obtained by his death applied unto them, and they put into the possession of it.For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Romans 5:10. More special development (γάρ, namely) of Romans 5:9.
ἐχθροί] namely, of God, as is clear from κατηλλ. τῷ Θεῷ. But it is not to be taken in an active sense (hostile to God, as by Rückert, Baur, Reithmayr, van Hengel, Mehring, Ritschl in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1863, p. 515 f.; Weber, vom Zorne Gottes, p. 293, and others); for Christ’s death did not remove the enmity of men against God, but, as that which procured their pardon on the part of God, it did away with the enmity of God against men, and thereupon the cessation of the enmity of men towards God ensued as the moral consequence brought about by faith. And, with that active conception, how could Paul properly have inferred his πολλῷ μᾶλλον κ.τ.λ, since in point of fact the certainty of the (σωθησόμεθα is based on our standing in friendship (grace) with God, and not on our being friendly towards God? Hence the passive explanation alone is correct (Calvin and others, including Reiche, Fritzsche, Tholuck, Krehl, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Philippi, Hofmann): enemies of God, i.e. those against whom the holy θεοσεχθρία, the ὀργή of God on account of sin, is directed; θεοστυγεῖς, Romans 1:30; τέκνα ὀργῆς, Ephesians 2:3. Comp Romans 11:28; and see on Colossians 1:21; comp Pfleiderer in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. 1872, p. 182. This does not contradict the ἀγάπη Θεοῦ praised in Romans 5:8 (as Rückert objects), since the very arrangement, which God made by the death of Jesus for abandoning His enmity against sinful men without detriment to His holiness, was the highest proof of His love for us (not for our sins).
Consequently κατηλλάγημεν and καταλλαγέντες must also be taken not actively, but passively: reconciled with God, so that He is no longer hostile towards us, but has on the contrary, on account of the death of His (beloved) Son, abandoned His wrath against us, and we, on the other hand, have become partakers in His grace and favour; for the positive assertion (comp Romans 5:1 f.), which is applicable to all believing individuals (Romans 5:8), must not be weakened into the negative and general conception “that Christians have not God against them” (Hofmann). See on Colossians 1:21 and on 2 Corinthians 5:18. Tittmann’s distinction between διαλλάττειν and καταλλάττειν (see on Matthew 5:24) is as arbitrary as that of Mehring, who makes the former denote the outward and the latter the inward reconciliation. Against this view, comp also Philippi’s Glaubenslehre, II. 2, p. 270 ff.
ἐν τῇ ζωῇ αὐτοῦ] by His life; more precise specification of the import of διʼ αὐτοῦ in Romans 5:9; therefore not “cum vitae ejus simus participes” (van Hengel, comp Ewald). The death of Jesus effected our reconciliation; ail the less can His exalted life leave our deliverance unfinished. The living Christ cannot leave what His death effected without final success. This however is accomplished not merely through His intercession, Romans 8:34 (Fritzsche, Baumgarten-Crusius), but also through His whole working in His kingly office for His believers up to the completion of His work and kingdom, 1 Corinthians 15:22 ff.
 .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.10. if] i.e. as. The hypothesis is also a fact.
enemies] Personal enemies; the proper force of the Gr. word. Cp. Colossians 1:21. See below on Romans 8:7.
reconciled to God] On “reconciliation,” see on Romans 5:1. Here certainly the idea of the conciliation of man’s will to God (as a result of the Propitiation revealed) is suggested. But even here it is scarcely the main idea. The language, carefully weighed, points more to God’s acceptance of the sinner than to the sinner’s acceptance of God. For the case is put thus:—“When we were enemies, God was gracious to us: much more (as to our apprehension) will He be gracious to us still.” How was He gracious to us then? Surely by the gift of justification (see Romans 5:9). As our Judge, He acquitted us; in other words, He was reconciled to us, and adopted us. Therefore, as our reconciled Father, He will surely be equally gracious to us still.—Through this context St Paul has not yet come to the result of pardon on the will. When he here uses the phrase “reconciled to God” it is evidently with main reference to the removal of a judicial bar.—Absalom, for instance, was reconciled to David—restored to his filial position—only when David put aside his just wrath: till this was done, no change of will in Absalom would be reconciliation.
by the death] As propitiation, with a view to justification; Romans 3:24-25.
being reconciled] He does not say “being friends;” which, as just stated, is not yet the idea in point. The barrier of condemnation is taken away; therefore à fortiori the Judge, who is also the Father, will continue to us His love.
we shall be saved] See on Romans 5:9.
by his life] Lit. in His life. The “in” here is probably strictly appropriate: “in His life” = “in Him who lives.” The justified are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).—Cp. Colossians 3:4, where the reference to the final appearing of the Saviour, (the appearing to judgment and salvation,) serves to explain this passage. Q. d., “We shall be saved in the day of the Lord because He, who died for us, ever lives as our Life.”Romans 5:10. Εἰ, [since] if) Often εἰ, if, especially in this and the eighth chapter of this epistle, does not so much denote the condition as strengthen the conclusion.
The word may be used either in an active sense, hating God, or passively, hated of God. The context favors the latter sense; not, however, with the conventional meaning of hated, denoting the revengeful, passionate feeling of human enmity, but simply the essential antagonism of the divine nature to sin. Neither the active nor the passive meaning needs to be pressed. The term represents the mutual estrangement and opposition which must accompany sin on man's part, and which requires reconciliation.
We were reconciled to God (καταλλάγημεν τῷ Θεῷ)
The verb means primarily to exchange; and hence to change the relation of hostile parties into a relation of peace; to reconcile. It is used of both mutual and one-sided enmity. In the former case, the context must show on which side is the active enmity.
In the Christian sense, the change in the relation of God and man effected through Christ. This involves, 1. A movement of God toward man with a view to break down man's hostility, to commend God's love and holiness to him, and to convince him of the enormity and the consequence of sin. It is God who initiates this movement in the person and work of Jesus Christ. See Romans 5:6, Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18, 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:6; 1 John 4:19. Hence the passive form of the verb here: we were made subjects of God's reconciling Acts 2. A corresponding movement on man's part toward God; yielding to the appeal of Christ's self-sacrificing love, laying aside his enmity, renouncing his sin, and turning to God in faith and obedience. 3. A consequent change of character in man; the covering, forgiving, cleansing of his sin; a thorough revolution in all his dispositions and principles. 4. A corresponding change of relation on God's part, that being removed which alone rendered Him hostile to man, so that God can now receive Him into fellowship and let loose upon him all His fatherly love and grace, 1 John 1:3, 1 John 1:7. Thus there is complete reconciliation. See, further, on Romans 3:25, Romans 3:26.
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