Faith, Hope, and Love.* 1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace* with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,a 2through whom we have gained access [by faith] to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.b 3Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, 4and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope,c 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.d 6For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. 7Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.* 8But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.e 9How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.f 10Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life.g 11Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Humanity’s Sin through Adam. 12* Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world,h and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned*— 13for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law.i 14But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come.j
Grace and Life through Christ. 15But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person’s transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person Jesus Christ overflow for the many. 16And the gift is not like the result of the one person’s sinning. For after one sin there was the judgment that brought condemnation; but the gift, after many transgressions, brought acquittal. 17For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ. 18In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all.k 19For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.l 20The law entered in* so that transgression might increase but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more,m 21so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.n
* [5:1–11] Popular piety frequently construed reverses and troubles as punishment for sin; cf. Jn 9:2. Paul therefore assures believers that God’s justifying action in Jesus Christ is a declaration of peace. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ displays God’s initiative in certifying humanity for unimpeded access into the divine presence. Reconciliation is God’s gift of pardon to the entire human race. Through faith one benefits personally from this pardon or, in Paul’s term, is justified. The ultimate aim of God is to liberate believers from the pre-Christian self as described in Rom 1–3. Since this liberation will first find completion in the believer’s resurrection, salvation is described as future in Rom 5:10. Because this fullness of salvation belongs to the future it is called the Christian hope. Paul’s Greek term for hope does not, however, suggest a note of uncertainty, to the effect: “I wonder whether God really means it.” Rather, God’s promise in the gospel fills believers with expectation and anticipation for the climactic gift of unalloyed commitment in the holy Spirit to the performance of the will of God. The persecutions that attend Christian commitment are to teach believers patience and to strengthen this hope, which will not disappoint them because the holy Spirit dwells in their hearts and imbues them with God’s love (Rom 5:5).
* [5:7] In the world of Paul’s time the good person is especially one who is magnanimous to others.
* [5:12–21] Paul reflects on the sin of Adam (Gn 3:1–13) in the light of the redemptive mystery of Christ. Sin, as used in the singular by Paul, refers to the dreadful power that has gripped humanity, which is now in revolt against the Creator and engaged in the exaltation of its own desires and interests. But no one has a right to say, “Adam made me do it,” for all are culpable (Rom 5:12): Gentiles under the demands of the law written in their hearts (Rom 2:14–15), and Jews under the Mosaic covenant. Through the Old Testament law, the sinfulness of humanity that was operative from the beginning (Rom 5:13) found further stimulation, with the result that sins were generated in even greater abundance. According to Rom 5:15–21, God’s act in Christ is in total contrast to the disastrous effects of the virus of sin that invaded humanity through Adam’s crime.
* [5:20] The law entered in: sin had made its entrance (12); now the law comes in alongside sin. See notes on Rom 1:18–32; 5:12–21. Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more: Paul declares that grace outmatches the productivity of sin.