Paul has stated definitely that we who are justified by His blood shall be saved from wrath through Him, that is, through the abiding efficacy of His atonement.  He reminds us in the 10th verse that God provided this offering for sin even when we were enemies.  When we were yet in a state of hostility to God, He nevertheless sent His Son to the cross, and accepted His bloodshedding and the travail of His soul as being of such merit as to utterly expiate every sin that any of His elect ever committed.  Thus we are reconciled to Him; God no longer occupies towards us the office of a Judge set to condemn us for our sin, but of a heavenly Benefactor Who has removed all grounds of enmity which separated us, and now willingly adopts us into His family, and even rejoices over us with singing.

This ought to be enough to confirm the assurance of every person who is confident of his interest in the work of Christ.  But Paul is so full of the blessed doctrine of the Gospel that he cannot stop there, but takes it to an even higher level.  He says that if we, even when in a state of enmity, have been reconciled to God by the death of His Son, that since we now are in a state of peace and reconciliation, we shall be saved by Christ’s life.  In other words, it appears to me the apostle is saying, “If the death of Christ is not enough to assure you of God’s love for you, then look to the resurrection of Christ!”

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This is a blessed thought.  Not only did Christ’s sacrificial death remove the ground of enmity to us, but His resurrection life is another guarantee of our final and full salvation.  If our Saviour had merely shed His blood, expired on the cross, and then His corpse had decayed in the tomb, it would be very difficult for us to come to any kind of degree of assurance.  I am at a loss as to how the Muslims, or any others who place their confidence in dead men, have any assurance of the final salvation of their souls.  But the genius of the Christian religion is that it does not present a dead prophet, a dead priest, or a dead king, but one glorious living Person Who occupies all three offices, and perpetually exercises them from the right hand of God on behalf of those for whom He died!  A living Christ is the sure, final, and complete guarantee of the salvation of His people.  We touched upon this at the end of the 4th chapter, where we saw that His resurrection is God’s stamp of approval upon His work of redemption.  God would not have raised Him from the dead if He had not completely dealt with every single sin with which He was charged in our room; for sin keeps a person perpetually in bondage to death.  But since Christ had done away with all those sins forever, God raised Him from the dead to show that our justification is complete, thanks entirely to the work of His Son.  Moreover, Paul will bring this truth to light again when we arrive in the 8th chapter, where we will find him in the 34th verse declaring, “Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us.”  There he grounds our perfect security upon four different pillars; Christ’s death, His resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of power, and His ceaseless intercession for us.  Here in the 5th chapter he simplifies it by mentioning only Christ’s death and His life, though certainly he holds in view the entirety of our Lord’s saving work.

 

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