5:6-11 Christ died for sinners; not only such as were useless, but such as were guilty and hateful; such that their everlasting destruction would be to the glory of God's justice. Christ died to save us, not in our sins, but from our sins; and we were yet sinners when he died for us. Nay, the carnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself, chap. 8:7; Col 1:21. But God designed to deliver from sin, and to work a great change. While the sinful state continues, God loathes the sinner, and the sinner loathes God, Zec 11:8. And that for such as these Christ should die, is a mystery; no other such an instance of love is known, so that it may well be the employment of eternity to adore and wonder at it. Again; what idea had the apostle when he supposed the case of some one dying for a righteous man? And yet he only put it as a thing that might be. Was it not the undergoing this suffering, that the person intended to be benefitted might be released therefrom? But from what are believers in Christ released by his death? Not from bodily death; for that they all do and must endure. The evil, from which the deliverance could be effected only in this astonishing manner, must be more dreadful than natural death. There is no evil, to which the argument can be applied, except that which the apostle actually affirms, sin, and wrath, the punishment of sin, determined by the unerring justice of God. And if, by Divine grace, they were thus brought to repent, and to believe in Christ, and thus were justified by the price of his bloodshedding, and by faith in that atonement, much more through Him who died for them and rose again, would they be kept from falling under the power of sin and Satan, or departing finally from him. The living Lord of all, will complete the purpose of his dying love, by saving all true believers to the uttermost. Having such a pledge of salvation in the love of God through Christ, the apostle declared that believers not only rejoiced in the hope of heaven, and even in their tribulations for Christ's sake, but they gloried in God also, as their unchangeable Friend and all-sufficient Portion, through Christ only.
11. And not only so, but we also joy—rather, "glory."
in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by—"through"
whom we have now received the atonement—rather, "the reconciliation" (Margin), as the same word is rendered in Ro 5:10 and in 2Co 5:18, 19. (In fact, the earlier meaning of the English word "atonement" was "the reconciliation of two estranged parties") [Trench]. The foregoing effects of justification were all benefits to ourselves, calling for gratitude; this last may be termed a purely disinterested one. Our first feeling towards God, after we have found peace with Him, is that of clinging gratitude for so costly a salvation; but no sooner have we learned to cry, Abba, Father, under the sweet sense of reconciliation, than "gloriation" in Him takes the place of dread of Him, and now He appears to us "altogether lovely!"
On this section, Note, (1) How gloriously does the Gospel evince its divine origin by basing all acceptable obedience on "peace with God," laying the foundations of this peace in a righteous "justification" of the sinner "through our Lord Jesus Christ," and making this the entrance to a permanent standing in the divine favor, and a triumphant expectation of future glory! (Ro 5:1, 2). Other peace, worthy of the name, there is none; and as those who are strangers to it rise not to the enjoyment of such high fellowship with God, so they have neither any taste for it nor desire after it. (2) As only believers possess the true secret of patience under trials, so, although "not joyous but grievous" in themselves (Heb 12:17), when trials divinely sent afford them the opportunity of evidencing their faith by the grace of patience under them, they should "count it all joy" (Ro 5:3, 4; and see Jas 1:2, 3). (3) "Hope," in the New Testament sense of the term, is not a lower degree of faith or assurance (as many now say, I hope for heaven, but am not sure of it); but invariably means "the confident expectation of future good." It presupposes faith; and what faith assures us will be ours, hope accordingly expects. In the nourishment of this hope, the soul's look outward to Christ for the ground of it, and inward upon ourselves for evidence of its reality, must act and react upon each other (Ro 5:2 and Ro 5:4 compared). (4) It is the proper office of the Holy Ghost to beget in the soul the full conviction and joyful consciousness of the love of God in Christ Jesus to sinners of mankind, and to ourselves in particular; and where this exists, it carries with it such an assurance of final salvation as cannot deceive (Ro 5:5). (5) The justification of sinful men is not in virtue of their amendment, but of "the blood of God's Son"; and while this is expressly affirmed in Ro 5:9, our reconciliation to God by the "death of His Son," affirmed in Ro 5:10, is but a variety of the same statement. In both, the blessing meant is the restoration of the sinner to a righteous standing in the sight of God; and in both, the meritorious ground of this, which is intended to be conveyed, is the expiatory sacrifice of God's Son. (6) Gratitude to God for redeeming love, if it could exist without delight in God Himself, would be a selfish and worthless feeling; but when the one rises into the other—the transporting sense of eternal "reconciliation" passing into "gloriation in God" Himself—then the lower is sanctified and sustained by the higher, and each feeling is perfective of the other (Ro 5:11).