Summary: Faith Triumphs in Trouble
Romans 5:1, “ 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Therefore is a transition word Paul uses to move from one argument to another. He will use the word again in v.12 to point out that this is another argument. This argument is the conclusion of the argument Paul has been developing against the religious and moral egoists, who elevate pride and haughtiness above the reality of the Spirit’s indwelling presence. Paul then will turn to argue in v.12 through chapter 8 concerning the Spirit filled life.
Having been justified: The Greek construction-and its English translation-underscores that justification is a one-time legal declaration with continuing results (3:24_, not an ongoing process.
Paul is focusing on the shalom which is a Jewish concept which is significant because it represents the blessings of salvation, which brings wholeness as well as holiness (Is 48:18; 2 Thess 3:16). In order for one to have a right relationship with Yeshua they have to first accept the terms of the contract. One has to receive the peace of the Lord in order to have it. Another part of the package is that through Yeshua the believer also has access to an ongoing source of grace which Paul can describe as the grace in which we stand, the perfect tense of the verb indicating something with ongoing effects. Paul stays that the believer has gained unfettered or free access to this grace. Yet this language may suggest even more because grace here seems to be seen as a sort of sphere which the believer enters and stands within. Yet also the word shalom and shalem are compared for shalom refers to peace while shalem in the Hebrew refers to the complete or whole, while leshaslim to make perfect or to reconcile (leshalem) to pay or to reward. Paul’s though then also goes into Eph 2:12 and thus many of the motifs again focus upon Paul’s Jewishness.
Peace with G-d: Not a subjective, internatal sense of calm and serenity, but an external, objective, reality. G-D has declared Himself to be at war with every human being because of man’s sinful rebellion against Him and His laws (v.10; 1:18; 8:7; Exodus 22:24; Deut 32:21-22; Psalm 7:11; John 3:36; Eph 5:6). But the first great result of justification is that the sinner’s war with G-d is ended forever (Colossians 1:21-22). Scripture refers to the end of this conflict as a person’s being reconciled to G-d. (vv.10-11; 2 Cor 5:18-20).
This is an important theme for Paul, peace and justification. Justification is God’s free gift of righteousness to man, even when he does not acknowledge honor or give thanks to God (1:21), peace corresponds to righteousness in the sense of reconciliation. Paul thus returns to the argument in 3:23-26, where he identifies Yeshua as the scapegoat which was sacrificed on the Day of Atonement to atone for the sins of the people of Israel and the High Priest (Lev 16:5-34), (kaporet) or “mercy seat” (Exo 25:17). The biblical peace offering was a general offering, not peculiar to the service of the Day of Atonement, but peace-offerings also importantly accompanied the people’s renewal of the covenant. The purpose of all the sacrifices was to make atonement (le-hashlim; “to make peace”) between man and God. Peace as righteousness then refers to the reconciliation (at-one-ment) between God and man.