God proved–showed–demonstrated his love for us, because while we were sinners–unreconciled transgressors–enemies Messiah died for us–Romans 5:8
Every single time I read that verse it almost brings me to my knees. The entirety of the gospel and the gospel way of life can be summarized in that passage. It is also the easiest verse to translate in a chapter filled with rather complex grammar and ideas.
Translation Notes: Many translations prefer the word “rejoice” and “rejoicing” (v. 3, for example), while I think that “boast” is a better rendering for the word. There is another word for rejoice, and if Paul had intended to mean rejoice, he would have chosen that one.
Transgression is not a common word today, but the options for rendering it (v. 18) are limited. I could have gone with violation, offense, or even crime. The word, in my understanding, carries legal weight more than moral weight. I decided to go with transgression because it feels more theological, but I came very close to choosing, “violation.”
Theological Notes: Chapter five can boil down to one thought; Adam ruined everything by his one act, Jesus began the process of putting everything back together with his one act. Most of this chapter is a compare and contrast between these two. Two questions remain for modern interpreters. First, is Paul again alluding to a kind of universalism with statements like those in verse 18. I don’t think so, but it is a rather interesting verse and lends itself to dialogue. A second question is how metaphorical is this contrast? In other words, is Paul thinking of a historical Adam or of a type of literary Adam in the Hebrew Bible that gives us insight into what Jesus did? Before you answer that question, just keep asking yourself why is Eve completely neglected in Paul’s working of the material? Part of that answer might be that Paul has stylized the material so heavily that he is not thinking of historical figures as much as theological ideas.
1. Therefore, having been made right by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Messiah,
2. by whom we have had access. We stand in this grace and should boast in the hope of the glory of God.
3. Not only this, but we should boast in afflictions too. We know that afflictions produce patience,
4. and patience produces character, and character, hope.
5. The hope does not let us down, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit he has given us.
6. For at just the right time Messiah died for us who are helpless, the ungodly.
7. Scarcely might someone die for a righteous person, or perhaps for a good person someone would dare to die,
8. but God proves his own love for us, because while we were sinners, Messiah died for us.
9. All the more then, having now been made righteous by his blood we will be saved by him from the wrath.
10. For if we were as enemies reconciled by the death of his son, then how much more after having been reconciled will we be saved by his life?
11. Not only this, but even boasting in God by our Lord Jesus Messiah, through whom we now have received reconciliation.
12. So it is through one man that sin entered the world, and by his sin, death, and from his death it spread to all people, for everyone sinned.
13. Until the law, sin was in the world but it was not counted, being as there was no law.
14. But death reigned from Adam until Moses, even upon those who did not sin the same way as the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15. The gift is not like the trespass. For if by the trespass of one person many died, how much more will many flourish through the grace of God and the gift of grace from the one man, Jesus Messiah.
16. The gift is not like the one man’s sin either, the one from whom came judgment and condemnation, but the gift is for the many acquitted of trespasses.
17. If death reigned in the one transgression, then how much more will the excesses of grace reign as people receive the gift of life from the one man Jesus Messiah.
18. So then as by one transgression all people enter condemnation, so also through one righteous act all people have the righteousness of life.
19. Indeed, because of the disobedience of the one person, many were made sinners. In contrast, because of the obedience of the one person, many will be made as righteous.
20. But law intruded so that the transgressions might increase, but as the sin increased, grace super-abounded.
21. So that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness in eternal life through Jesus Messiah, our Lord.