Book of Romans Bible Studies
Romans 5:9-10 - The 'Much More' of Salvation
by Fraser Gordon
Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
The harder thing
Our only standing before the Father is the blood of Christ. It's His blood which covers us, continually crying out for mercy toward those that come to Him. Only Christ's blood is acceptable to the Father and it's His blood that declares us, if we repent, justified and righteous before God. Paul begins by saying ‘much more’. If God has done the harder thing, how much more can He do the lesser thing? The harder thing was reconciling man to Himself. He had to be willing to send his Son into the world to pay a price that you and I couldn't pay. That was the harder thing. How much more, in justifying you by Jeus blood, can He now save you from wrath?
The three tenses of salvation
The word saved in scripture is always used in three tenses. Past tense is what we’ve been saved from - the wretched lives that didn't measure up to God’s standard. We’ve been saved from the guilt of the past and cleansed from the debt of sin.
The second is present tense. We are being saved daily by the Spirit of Christ within us. The trouble is, and we're going to cover this more in Chapter 6, is that we are born after the first Adam. In Adam we have a fallen nature who has no time for God and never will have. The fallen nature loves to usurp God’s authority over us so we need to be daily delivered from its ruling power. This is called the self-nature, the flesh, the old Adam, or the old self. All of these terms refer to the principle within us that never has any time for God. But God has made a way by which this doesn't have to rule us. The resurrected life of Christ dwelling in us keeps the self life from ruling.
The third is future tense that one day we will be fully delivered from this corrupted body and will receive a new one. There is a future day in which we will be finally fully saved and receive a glorified body.
The wrath of God
Paul goes on to say in verse 9 that ‘we shall be saved from wrath through Him’. So what is this wrath? I want to distinguish first of all that wrath is the Holy Righteous judgement of God. It is not the trials, testing, and temptations which Christians face. There's a difference between the discipline of God that Christians experience and the wrath of God on unbelievers, they are two very different things.
There is evidence throughout scripture where God kept apart or saved Saints from His wrath. The first is Noah. The earth was in such a state that it grieved the heart of God that he had made man. It had been corrupted by Satan's attempts to pervert the seed of man through angels intermingling with women. Everything God had made the bible says was corrupt before His eyes. Only Noah and his family received grace and were set apart by God when the flood came and destroyed the earth. This is a picture of God preserving His people.
The Bible talks of Lot as righteous and declares him to be just. He had been greatly affected by the world around him and his soul was vexed by all that he saw going on. The angels said to him ‘You must leave the city quickly because God is going to judge this place. Here again you have the righteous being kept from God's wrath. As soon as Lot and his family left, fire and brimstone destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities around them.
Exodus 12:1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 'On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire--its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgement: I am the Lord. 1 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
Passover was God's wrath upon Pharaoh and the land of Egypt. Notice that at first God says a lamb and then He calls it your lamb. There is the Lamb of God which has come to take away the sins of the world. That’s the most important part, you have to make the Lord Jesus Christ your lamb. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God and His blood was shed for our sin. When the Angel came He passed over the houses with blood on the doorposts and the lintel. They were saved from God’s wrath. The same is true of the saints. Paul says we are justified by His blood so that we should not suffer the wrath of God. This is the same principle of the blood that allowed the angel to pass over and not judge Israel with the others.
Another example is the wrath of God poured out upon Christ. He suffered the wrath of God by becoming sin on the cross. He who knew no sin was made sin for us so that in Him we may become the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5.21. When Christ hung on the cross there was three hours of darkness - He was made the accursed thing and was judged in our place. God's wrath fell upon Christ without measure and judged Him as sin itself. This is why the Father separated Himself from Him, something the Son had never known from all eternity. Christ suffered the wrath of God for you and me so that we wouldn't have to.
The Day of the Lord
Scripture also speaks about wrath as in the Day of the Lord, or the time of Jacob's trouble. There is a time coming on earth which is not trials, testing or discipline. It is termed the Wrath of God, a seven year period of tribulation. The last three-and-a-half years of that seven year period is worse than the first three and a half years. 1 Thessalonians 5.9 says For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Many believe that the church will be protected at that time. The principle of the rapture is that the church will be taken away and not undergo this period of God's wrath.
The Lake of Fire and Judgement
The final example of God’s wrath is the lake of fire and the great judgement. All mankind is judged. When the books are opened, if your name is not found written in the Lamb's Book of Life, there is an eternal judgement on you. Everything is recorded and there will be a final righteous day of judgement. Romans 2.5 says ‘You are treasuring up for yourselves wrath in the day of wrath.’
Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
These are strong words, we don't like to think that we were once an enemy of God. But reconciliation has been made. Reconciliation is always toward God first, toward His righteousness and holiness.
A headmaster made a rule that there was to be no swearing in the school grounds. A young boy called Iain was really susceptible to foul language and profanity. One day Eric came to play handball with Iain. There was a line call and everyone heard Iain use foul language and wondered what the principal was going to do. He called everyone and said “I made the rule that there would be no swearing in the playground and the rule has been broken”. The principal's son was at the school and he came to his father and said “I know you've made this rule and I know there has to be a judgement because the rule has been broken so I'm willing to take the punishment for Iain”. So the principal whipped his son in front of everyone and he didn't spare the whipping.
This is what reconciliation means. The rule was broken and someone had to pay the price for it. Reconciliation is toward the one who made the rule in the first place. Payment must be made and reconciliation is the result. Iain should have been whipped but is now free because of the payment made by the principal's son. Iain can now come to the principal in grace, forgiveness and acceptance because of what has been done for him by someone else. Christ paid the penalty for us on our behalf towards the Father and He now calls us to come to Him because reconciliation has been made.
The much more
Having done the hard thing by reconciling us to God how much more shall we be saved by His life, or in His life is a closer translation. Jesus came down here to save us but He lives up there to keep us saved. Hebrews 7.25 states that ‘He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them’. I don't know about you but I need saving to the uttermost. Because the Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the dead His life not only saves us but keeps us saved and He continually lives to make intercession for us. He is able to save as far as the East is from the West, to the uttermost.
We have a union in the Lord Jesus Christ. It's a union that we don't see but God declares has happened; that we, in Christ, died on the cross. We are in Christ, baptised with him into death and we also rose in Him. ‘For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God Colossians 3.3. We can’t see what God has done for us, these are positional truths which are believed by faith. He's placed us in a risen Christ. It's just like the grafting process. The kiwifruit orchard I worked on wanted to create a better male variety so I chainsawed right through the trunk of a vine at about a metre high. Using a knife I then slit down the side of the trunk and put a graft in the slit. I sharpened the graft to expose the cambium layer and then exposed it on the trunk as well so that the graft could knit to the life of the plant. Then I taped it up and sealed it with wax or something similar so infection and water couldn't get in. It's a wonderful picture of us - we've been grafted into Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit. We've been placed into Him and His life is now our life.
The author Bob George used the sterilisation of jars as an example. You sterilise them before you put something in them. At our place Wendy sometimes sterilises jars. If you asked her what they were for, would she say they were a collection and she likes to sterilise jars for fun?’ You’d think she was nuts. You sterilise a jar to put something in it. This is a picture of the Christian life: something is always put in a sterilised jar and then sealed. We are reconciled to God, that's a sterilising process so that the risen Lord Jesus Christ can be put in. His life becomes part of our life.
God’s plan for Living
Some people talk about the end times as being a wonderful revival where the church is ruling and reigning. I don't believe that because when I look at the whole of scripture it says that there will be trouble, persecution, and a falling away in the last days. We are living in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation but God doesn't remove us from it - not yet anyway. So how do we live in a culture that is under His wrath? We live in the midst of it, how do we escape it? By the much more of His resurrected life.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
In other words, work out what God’s plan and will is for you. Take stock of all that God has called you to and work it out. We need to work out His resurrected life for ourselves and apply it to everything, that's the learning process we're in. I'm teaching the kids to drive and you can only teach them so much and then at some point you've got to let them go and work it out for themselves. Church is good but when it really comes down to it you have to work out your own salvation for yourself and work out what God wants to do with you with fear and trembling.
Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
This is the working out process and this is how we are saved by His Life. God works in you. In Romans 7 Paul says ‘I've got the desire to do this but I find myself doing that’. He beats up on himself but even the desire to will is a working of the resurrected Christ in your life. The desire to change, to do the right thing, and to do God's will is a working of His Spirit. Before we were saved we didn't even think like that, we didn't want to follow God and were quite happy doing things that were anti God. So even the desire to will comes from the Spirit of God. That's the first part of God working in you.
His resurrected life is not only to will but it's also the power behind what we do. It's all His activity. We're saved by His Life now, not just for eternity. Our position in Him is secure, and rock solid because we are in a resurrected Christ. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God, we are seated with him in the heavenlies and He now calls us beloved. We are loved with the same love that He loves His only Son. We are saved here on earth, daily, by His Life not just for eternity. Here on earth God works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure. It's all about what He wants - let this mind be in you. Christ laid aside His own rights, humbling Himself and was willing to live for what the Father wanted. That's the context, it's His good pleasure. What does God have for you while you walk this earth? ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them Ephesians 2.10.
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,
Don't do what I did - I came back from the Philippines once and said to mum, ‘I'm never going to complain about a thing ever again.’ I'd seen the poverty there and decided I was never going to moan or complain again. I got up the next morning and my car was on blocks and all my wheels were stolen! I didn't last long! Don't even make the statement, never say never. There was a monk who declared a vow of silence; he was only going to speak two words every five years. Five years passed and he came before the abbot and said “bad food” and returned back to his sanctuary. Five more years passed and he came and said to the abbot “hard bed”. Five years again passed and he came back to the abbot a third time and said “I quit”. The abbot said, “I'm not surprised, all you've done is complain and moan since you’ve been here!”
Philippians 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,...
Notice it says in the midst of, not isolated. Christians love to be amongst each other and that is really important, but it's just as important that we don't isolate ourselves from the world. Don't become an island, it’s good to have people around you that aren't saved. You may not have the same interests and some things they do may scare you a little but be in the midst of them. It’s important that we be lights in the world. “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” John 17.15 In other words, we are in the world but God’s protection is over us.
…among whom you shine as lights in the world,
This is what His resurrected life is for; that we are saved continually by His life in us and as a result we are lights in a dark world. The Lord Jesus was a full moon. You always saw the fullness of what the Father was like. He shone like a full moon in a dark world. Some Christians are like a floodlight or torch and others are just little sparks. It doesn't matter because where darkness is, even a spark can bring light. I’ll never forget the villages in the Philippines. The huts only had candles for light and at night all around the hillside you could see little flickers of light from them. They dispelled the darkness. We need to be like that. We can't be a full moon like Jesus who continually gave a full expression of the Father. We are little flickers of light in the world which dispel darkness. Our light shows who we are in the midst of the world, not taken out of it. So shine as lights in the world.
Php 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or laboured in vain.
It is vital that we hold fast to the Word of God, make it ours and apply it to our life. The much more of the resurrected life of Christ is for us here and now, not just for eternity. This passage tells us how to apply Christ's life, working out our own salvation as He works in and through us for His good pleasure, shining our lights in the world.
God bless you saints.