Topic: The Blessings of Justification

Text:   Romans 5:1-11

Memory verse: Rom 5:1


In the first three chapters of Romans, Paul shows how the whole world may be held accountable to God (3:19) because of sin. This leads to the fundamental question: if sin is universal, how can anyone be righteous before God? The answer to this question is that righteousness  comes through faith in Jesus Christ. For all who believe are justified by God’s grace as a gift (3:22, 24). In chapter 4, he proves this point by showing that Abraham himself had received righteousness as a gift. Furthermore, righteousness will be reckoned to us who believe in Him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord (4:24). In chapter 5, Paul builds on this basic premise by showing the results of being justified by faith in Christ.

The Blessings of Justification (Rom 5:1-11)

Paul begins Chapter 5 with the word, therefore. This therefore shows the consequences or the result of the previous discussions. And in this context, the theme that was talked about in the previous chapter is justification. In expository terms, the following thus constitutes the blessings of Justification:

  1. We have peace (v. 1)

There was a time when we were enemies (v. 10); but now in Christ we have peace with God. Peace with God means that the blood of Christ has settled our problem with sin. God is now our Father, not our judge because our sin has been dealt with

2.  We have access to God (v. 2a)

Before our salvation, we stood in Adam and were condemned; but now in Christ, we have a perfect standing before God and can enter into His presence (Heb. 10:19-25)

3.  We have hope (v. 2b).

Literally: We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Read Eph. 2:11-12 and note that the unsaved person is without hope. We cannot boast in good works that bring salvation (Eph. 2; 8-9), but we can boast in the wonderful salvation God has given us in Christ.

4.  We have daily confidence (vv. 3-4).

Verses 3-4: The true Christian does not only have hope for the future, but also have confidence in the present trials of life. The ‘formula’ looks like this: testing plus Christ equals patience; patience plus Christ equals character (experience); experience plus Christ equals hope. Note that we do not glory over trials, or about trials, but in trials. Compare Matt. 13:21; I Thess. 1:4-6; and James 1:3ff.

5. We experience the love of God (v. 5)

The Spirit within sheds God’s love to us and through us. God revealed His love at the cross when Christ died for those who were without strength, who were ungodly, sinners, and enemies, thus proving His great love.

  • God’s love poured into our hearts: this is the word used of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:17, 33 and Titus 3:6. It suggests a free flow and a large quantity – in fact a flood. This is because the verb is in the perfect tense, the thought is that God’s love having flooded our hearts fills them now, just as a valley once flooded behind a dam remains full of water. Thus every Christian is entitled to the enjoyment of a strong, abiding sense of God’s love. This is the work of the Holy Spirit on our behalf.

What are the implications of this in daily living?

How Peace with God was obtained (vv. 6-11)

God gives us peace but at a cost – it cost His own Son’s death.

  1. Christ died for us (vv. 6-8): Jesus Christ died in our place, as our substitute, because we deserved the death penalty. That was why He had to die. Paul makes it clear what our condition was like: helpless, ungodly sinners. In 6:23, he says, the wages of sin is death. This is the principle we must accept, that our own misdeeds and shortcomings are  worthy of death. However, God did not wait until we got our lives straightened out before He sent Jesus to die on our behalf.
  2. We are saved from God’s wrath (v. 9). Because we have been justified, we are also spared the wrath of God. God’s wrath is not to be equated with human anger. He is not vindictive and vengeful in the human sense. His wrath is His displeasure with sin. It is the necessary exercise of His holiness. Sin incurs the wrath of God. The only way to be spared is to claim the  blood of Christ. there is no other possibility of hope. We are either under God’s wrath or saved by Jesus Christ.
  3. We are reconciled by Christ’s death (vv. 10-11). With reconciliation our status before God has completely changed. We were His enemies, but He reconciled us (made peace with us). Jesus’ death put us right with God and keeps us right with Him, so we can experience a constant spring of intense joy. This new position is ours because of the change accomplished by reconciliation, a change from enmity to friendship and acceptance. We changed towards God by our repentance and faith and He changed towards us, so we are no longer under His wrath. Since we have received reconciliation, let us enjoy all the privileges it entails.


As we have studied Romans 5:11, it is obvious that Romans 5:1-11 deals with peace which is the absence of objective enmity, between God and humankind. It also looks at joy that can remain even in the midst of suffering that result from the knowledge that no matter what this life may throw at us we have an eternal life hidden in Christ with God that no one can damage or take from us.


  1. What does it mean to have peace with God?
  2. Through justification, we have access to God and hope. Explain.
  3. Narrate your personal story showing how you have experienced the love of God in your life.
  4. God gives us peace, but at a cost. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.
  5. State three (3) processes involved in obtaining peace with God (Rom 5:6-11).
  6. How does the peace of God affect your daily life?


Topic: Justification Explained using the example  of Abraham

Text:   Romans 4:1-25

Memory verse: Rom 4:25


From the last week lesson on Romans 3:21-31, the Good News of justification by faith was introduced and explained.  Its related terms of sanctification, redemption and propitiation were further introduced. In Rom 4 & 5, the theme of justification is given a detailed explanation. Today’s lesson seeks to throw more light on the theme of justification using the life of Abraham as an example. The main purpose of Romans 4:1-25 is therefore to explain that Justification is by faith. Here, the chapter elaborates how God justifies (declares righteous ungodly people) through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Using the example of Abraham, three great facts about justification by faith that have been elaborated in Rom 4 include: justification is by faith and not works, justification is by grace and not law, and justification is by resurrection power and not human effort.


I.                   Justification is by Faith, Not works (4:1-8)

Every Jew revered Abraham and from Gen. 15:6 knew that Abraham had been justified before God. Abraham’s acceptance by God was so certain that they referred to heaven as Abraham’s bosom. Paul therefore chooses Abraham to illustrate the concept of justification by faith. He makes it very clear that Abraham was declared righteous because of his faith and not by works (see Gen. 15:1-6). The gift of righteousness came, not by works, but by faith in God’s revealed Word.

Paul used the words reckon, impute, and count in his argument (vv. 3-6, 8-11, 22-24). These words all mean the same thing: to put to a person’s account. Justification means righteousness imputed (put to our account) and gives us a right standing before God. Sanctification means righteousness imparted (made a part of our life) and gives us a right standing before men, so they believe we are Christians (cf. James 2:14-26).

Verse 5:  states that God justifies the ungodly through faith and not works. The Jews thought that God justified religious people on the basis of their works; but Paul argues differently pointing out that Abraham was saved simply on the basis of faith. Then Paul refers to David and quotes Ps. 32:1-2,  proving that the great king taught justification by faith, apart from works. God does not impute sin to our account, because that was charged to Christ’s account (2 Cor. 5:21, Philemon 18). Rather, He imputes Christ’s righteousness to our account purely on the basis of grace! What a wonderful salvation we have.

II.                Justification is by Grace, Not Law (4:9-17).If justification according to Paul is by faith, then what about the law? What about the covenant God made with Abraham? Paul answers this question by pointing out that Abraham’s faith and salvation took place fourteen years before he was circumcised! Circumcision was the seal of the covenant, the rite that made a Jewish child a part of the system of law.

Circumcision was merely an outward sign of a spiritual relationship, as baptism is today.

  • Abraham is actually the father of all believers – all who belong to the household of faith (see Gal. 3:7, 29). See Rom. 2:27-29, not all Jews are truly the Israel of God.

Paul in verses 13-17e contrasts law and grace. The key word here is promise (vv. 134, 14, 16). God’s promise to Abraham that he would be the heir of the world (v. 13) was not given in connection with the law or circumcision, but by God’s grace alone. The law was never given to save anyone; the Law only brings wrath and reveals sin. The Law completely cancels grace, just as works will cancel faith; the two cannot exist side by side (vv. 14-15). How could the Law save Abraham, when the Law had not yet been given? Paul concludes in v. 16 that justification comes by grace, through faith; and thus all people – Jews and Gentiles – can be saved! Abraham is not only the father of the Jews, but he is the father of us all,, all who follow in his steps of faith. (Read Gal. 3).

II. Justification is by Resurrection Power, Not human effort (4:18-25)

The first section (vv. 1-8) contrasted faith and works; the second  (vv. 9-17) contrasted Law and grace; and now the third (vv. 18-25) contrasts life and death. Note that Paul in v. 17 identifies God as the God who gives life to the dead. How could two people, one, ninety years and the other, one hundred years, ever hope to have a son? But when the flesh is dead, then the resurrection power of the   Spirit can go to work!

It was Abraham’s simple faith in God’s Word that justified him, and that is how sinners are justified today. We are saved the same way Abraham was saved: by faith (vs. 24). Note how important this word believe is in Romans: it appears in 1:16; 3:22, 26;4:3, 24; 5:1; 10:4, 9-10; etc. When a sinner believes the promise of God in the Word, then the same resurrection power enters the person’s life, and he/she becomes a Christian, a child of God, as was Abraham. We must confess that we are dead and believe that Christ is alive and will save us.

Verse 25 explains the basis for justification: the death and resurrection of Christ. The verse reads: He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Jesus was delivered because of our offences, and was raised again on account of our justification. The fact that He died proves we were sinners; the fact that God raised Him from the dead proves we have been justified by His blood,. This is evidence again that justification is a matter of resurrection power and not feeble human effort.


Using the example of Abraham, Paul in Rom 4 has given detailed illustration on the theme of Justification that he introduced in the previous chapter. Indeed the example of Abraham shows that justification is by faith and not works, it is by grace and not law and subsequently it is by resurrection power and not human effort. Understanding of this explanation should therefore cause us to deeply trust in what Christ has done for us on the cross. Subsequently we are enjoined to appreciate the price paid on our behalf on the cross and thereby live in humility. In the next lesson, we will look at the blessings of justification.



1.      What did Abraham do for him to be declared righteous in Genesis 15:6 and what does that teach us today to be saved?


2.      If justification is by faith, then what role does the law play?


3.      Explain the statement that “we are saved by resurrection power and not human effort.”


4.      How does the death and resurrection of Jesus relate to our justification?




Topic: Introducing the Good News of Justification by Faith

Text:    3:21-31


Having established the need for a Saviour in the previous section, Paul in Rom 3:21-29 explains his initial statement that salvation is through Christ by faith alone. The key term in this passage is therefore Justification. The other related words that are helpful in our understanding of what it means to be saved by faith are sanctification, propitiation and redemption. Thus in addition to justification, these terms will be looked at in this lesson.

Negative Condition of Justification

Being Justified does not depend on the Law. In this case, Romans 3: 21 can be paraphrased: But now, in this age of grace, a righteousness ( a new kind of righteousness) has been revealed, but not one that depends on the Law. This grace-righteousness was however, seen in the Old Testament. Abraham, for example, was declared righteous because of his faith (Gen. 15:6).

Positive Condition of Justification (vv. 22-26).

Positively, Justification is available through Christ. In vv. 22-26, Paul introduces several important terms that explain that justification is available through Christ.

  1. The meaning and nature of Justification (vs. 24)

It is the act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Christ on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross. That is, declared righteous in God’s sight through the merits of Christ, secure in our position in Christ before the throne of God.

  • Justification is thus God’s righteousness imputed – put to our account.
  • Justification is an act, not a process. There are no degrees of justification; each believer has the same right standing before God.
  • Justification is something God does, not man. No sinner can justify himself before God.
  • Justification does not mean that God makes us righteous, but that He declares us righteous.
  • Justification is a legal matter. God puts the righteousness of Christ on our record in the place of our own sinfulness and nobody can change this record.


  1. Explaining Sanctification

Sanctification is righteousness imparted or lived out in our daily lives. It is the process whereby God makes the believer more and more like Christ. Sanctification may change from day to day. Justification never changes. When the sinner trusts Christ, God declares him righteous, and that declaration will never be repealed. God looks on us and deals with us as though we had never sinned at all.

What then constitutes the price for our salvation?

Salvation is free, but it is not cheap. Three words express the price God paid for our salvation:

  1. What is Propitiation (v.25)?

It has to do with sacrifice of atonement, the metaphor that was taken from the temple cult referring to animal sacrifices that were offered to appease God’s wrath so that he might turn aside from human sin. Christ’s sacrifice satisfied God’s holy law, thus making it possible for God to forgive sinners and remain just Himself. God’s justice has been satisfied; He may now look with kindness and grace upon a lost world.

In human terms, Propitiation means appeasing someone who is angry, usually by a gift. But this is not what it means in the Bible. Propitiation means the satisfying of God’s holy Law, the meeting of its just demands, so that God can freely forgive those who come to Christ.

  1. The meaning of Redemption (v. 24)

Redemption has to do with deliverance from sin and its penalties, by the payment of a price. This was originally simply a very common, ordinarily metaphor, this time taken from the world of the slave market. Redemption was the ransom price that was paid to buy back a slave’s freedom, to make him or her free person.

In our salvation, the price was Christ’s blood on the cross. The word Blood tells us what the price was. Jesus had to die on the cross in order to satisfy the Law and justify lost sinners. The best illustration of this truth is the Jewish Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16.  In the Old Testament period, the blood of animals could never take away sin; it could only cover it until the time when Jesus would come and purchase a finished salvation. God had “passed over” the sins that were past (Rom. 3:25, literal translation), knowing that His Son would come and finish the work. Because of His death and resurrection, there would be redemption – a purchasing of the sinner and setting him free.

It is important to observe that though it doesn’t cost the believer anything to be saved, but it costs God the life of God’s Son. Paul in Rom 3: 26 then explains how God  can be both just and justifier. Here the answer is the cross. When Jesus died, He bore our sins in His own body (I Peter 2:24) and thus paid the price that God’s law demanded. But He arose again! Thus, He is alive, and able to save all who will believe!

Concluding Commentary – Accepted by faith (vv. 27-31)

The Jew has nothing to boast of, because all sinners are justified by faith and not by the works of the Law. If justification is by the Law, then He is a God of the Jews only, because only Israel had the Law. But God is also the God of the Gentiles. Therefore, both Jews and Gentiles are saved the same way – by faith. And this simple means of salvation does not cancel the Law, for the Law demanded death for sin, and Christ died for our sins. Thus, the Gospel establishes the Law. God’s Law reveals my need of grace, and God’s grace enables me to obey the Law.


  1. What does it mean to be justified and how is it different from sanctification?
  2. Explain the term propitiation.
  3. Discuss the statement that, Salvation is free but not cheap?
  4. What is the price that has been paid for in our salvation?
  5. To whom has the price of our salvation been paid?



Topic:  The Universal Condition of   Humankind

Text: Romans 3:1-20


It is obvious from our previous studies that Paul has introduced the sinful condition of Gentiles in chapter 1 and in Chapter 2 he talked about the sin of the Jews as well. In Romans 3, Paul then brings the two together to say that the whole world is under sin thereby bringing out the need for the savior. Specifically, in the first section of this chapter (Romans 3:1-20), Paul deals with condemnation and concludes that the whole world – Jew and Gentile alike –  is under sin. In the last section (vv. 21-31), he introduces the theme of justification by faith, which will be his theme in the next two chapters.

Condemnation under Sin (3:1-20)

In Romans 3:1-20 Paul appears to demonstrate the universal sinfulness of humankind. This could be seen as bad news. In developing this argument, Paul asks and answers four important questions in this section

 – Is there any advantage in being a Jew if Jews are condemned? (Romans 3: 1-2)

The answer is: Yes, because the Jews were given the oracles of God, His revealed will in His Word. Had Israel believed the Word and obeyed it, the nation would have received Christ and be saved. Then, through them, God would have spread the blessing to the whole world. Christians today are certainly privileged to have the Word of God. May we never take it for granted!

–  Has Israel’s Unbelief cancelled God’s Word (Romans 3:3-4)

Of course not! The unbelief of people could never cancel the faithfulness of God (faith in v. 3). God is true though every man is a liar. Here Paul quotes Psa. 51:4, where King David openly admitted his sin and God’s righteousness in judging him. Even in admitting his sins, David declared the righteousness of God and the truth of His Word.

– Then, why not sin and glorify God the more? (Romans 3:5-8)

After all, if God is honoured in judging my sin, then I am really doing Him favour by sinning! Instead of judging me, He should let me sin that He might be glorified all the more. He certainly is not righteous to judge me!

Paul quickly disposes of this argument for sin by pointing out in v. 6 that such a position would mean God could never judge the world, and even Abraham recognized God as the Judge of the world (Gen. 18:25). Paul does not explain how God judges sin and gets glory from it; he merely states that all truth and justice would collapse if God did what such people claimed.

Paul’s Jewish enemies had lied about him and said that he taught this very doctrine. Let us do evil that good may result (v. 8). See also Romans 6:1 and 15. This statement is so contrary to all reason and Scripture that Paul dismissed it by saying that the people who say this deserve condemnation themselves (v.8)

–  Then is the Jew better than the Gentile? (Roams 3: 9-18)

No, nor is the Gentile any better or worse than the Jew: for both are sinners and stand under condemnation of God. There is no difference is the great message of Romans – no difference in sin (3:22-23) or in salvation (10:12-13). God has regarded both Jew and Gentile as under sin that He might, in grace, have mercy upon all (11:32).

Verse 10-12: Paul now proves that the whole world is guilty by describing the total sinfulness of mankind. He comments on its sinful character and refers to Ps. 14:1-3.

Verses 13-18, he reminds us of its conduct, quoting from Ps. 5:9, 140:3, 10:7, and36:1, and also Isa. 59:7-8. Please read these verses and their settings carefully.

Verses 19-20: He gives his final verdict: the whole world is guilty before God!  The Law that the Jews thought would save them merely condemns them; for the Law gives the knowledge of sin.


It could be learnt from the above questions and answers of Paul that the whole world is under sin and therefore in need of a saviour. In the subsequent lesson Paul will show that salvation is through Christ by faith alone.


  1. When Paul says the whole world is guilty before God (Rom 3:10-11), who is he referring to?
  2. What does God’s faithfulness mean? Does unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness?
  3. What advantages did the Jews have over the Gentiles and for what purpose were they favoured?
  4. From the example of the Israelites, what are the major purpose of God in calling us today unto salvation and thus blessing us with his grace?