Background: In chapter 4, Paul lays out the understanding that Abraham’s commitment to God and his faith and hope that God would fulfill his seemingly impossible promise (that he, and Sariah, at their advanced ages, would have a son together) and his determination to continue to work and live his life based on that, was sufficient to “justify” him.
Justification is the state in which the things you have done wrong have been fully undone, or rectified, or satisfactorily explained well enough that you are exonerated by one responsible for judging you. Previously, many Jews believed that you could only be justified by strictly keeping the law, which included offering sacrifices to try to atone for the times you had not kept it. Followers of Christ began to understand that it was not strict law-following and sacrifices that would keep them justified before God, it was committing their lives to FAITH in Christ’s seemingly impossible offer of salvation and giving their hearts and lives to working with and serving him while living a continuously repentant life, depending upon his atoning sacrifice to exonerate them (justify them) in regards their sins .
So, onto the verses in chapter 5.
1. So we, living a life full of FAITH in God’s promises, are therefore, like Abraham, able to receive God’s justification. What a relief being justified is to our souls. And it is through Jesus and his atonement that this justification is possible for us. What peace with God that creates in us!
2. It is also through Jesus and our faith in him that we have access to his empowering grace, and, having received personal experiences that grace, we are able to rejoice in HOPE of the glory of God.
3. Not only that, it also changes how we see tribulations: We are able to glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation helps us develop patience,
4. And patience helps us to develop experience. And experience helps us to develop HOPE. [see verse 2]
5. HOPE makes us not feel so horribly ashamed of ourselves that we despair because, instead of despair filling our hearts, blessedly, as we open our hearts to HOPE, God’s LOVE is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which he has gifted to us.
6. We have realized that we do not have the power to undo or rectify or explain away our sins and stand justified before God, but Christ, in due time, atoned for the sins of all of us.
7.- 8. Being willing to die to save a righteous man is pretty rare. Being willing to die to save a simply good man is even rarer. But Christ died and atoned for us while were worse than that. What an amazing manifestation of God’s LOVE for us that is.