1. Therefore, being justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2. Through whom also we have access by faith into the grace in which we stand, and glory in hope of the glory of the Sons of God:
3. And not only this, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4. And patience trial; and trial hope;
5. And hope does not disappoint: because the charity of God is diffused in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given us.
Chapter v. Having stated the doctrine of justification by faith, the Apostle proceeds in this chapter to describe its four effects: i. Peace with God, 2. Adoption as the Sons of God. 3. Joy in trouble. 4. Glory in God as our Father, and Christ our Reconciler, who has taken away the effects of Adam’s sin.
1. Being justified by faith. Set free from the guilt of sin, by confession of the Christian Faith and Baptism, we are at peace with God and delivered from the terror of an evil conscience. The Greek reads we have peace; but Saint Chrysostom, Theodoret, the Vulgate, and the Syriac version, all read let us have peace, or, we may be at peace. Christ died for me; his death and his merits have been applied to me in Baptism; they are applied daily by penance and the other Sacraments, and made my own by continual acts of faith; the result is peace, serenity of mind, and confidence in Christ, and in God through Christ. This is the first effect of justification.
2. Through whom we have access. The Greek: we have obtained access to justice, the resulting condition of justification, in which condition of grace God has placed us, and we continue. And in this state we glory in the hope of the glory of the Sons of God. The Greek text, and the Syriac version, have not the word Sons, and read the glory of God. This is the second effect of justification—rejoicing in hope of the glory prepared hereafter for the Sons of God.
3. We glory in tribulations also; as something not evil but good, and as leading directly to the glory we hope for, as he explains in this and the next verses. For we know that trouble teaches patience; and this is God’s design
in afflicting us. The words were no doubt written under an outbreak of persecution, or in expectation of it. This is the third effect of justification.
4. Patience trial. Gold and silver are tried in the fire; and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation, Ecclus 11:55. Patience under suffering proves, to use a popular phrase, what we are made of. And trial hope. But for hope of deliverance trial could not be endured; and its effect is therefore to fix the mind more firmly on this hope, which thus becomes a permanent element in
our nature and constitution.
5. And hope does not disappoint, or literally maketh not ashamed, does not confound. Saint Augustine expresses his admiration of this gradation by which the Apostle explains in what way trouble leads to glory. It is rendered
as follows in the Syriac version: Not only so, but even in opression we glory, because we know that oppression makes patience perfect within us, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope does not make ashamed.
Hope maketh not ashamed, because it amounts to moral certitude. God will not fail those who trust in him. How do we know this? From the love of God; and this love has been exhibited to us in two ways. 1. He has given us his Holy Spirit. 2. He gave up his only begotten Son to death for us, while we were yet sinners. This last consideration will be referred to in the next six verses.
The charity of God is diffused in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This may be referred to the gift of the Holy Ghost to the Apostles and early Christians after our Lord’s Ascension; but more probably to the communication of the Spirit to the Christian in Baptism and other Sacraments; by which the Holy Spirit makes the Christian’s soul his temple, and adorns it with every grace.
There is a double gift imparted to us in justification: the Holy Spirit, who is charity uncreated: and charity created. But the uncreated charity of God acts through the created charity, which he infuses into our hearts. This double gift is the first foundation of our hope. We believe firmly the coming glory of the Sons of God, because we have received the Holy Spirit, the pledge of our
6. For why did Christ, while we were yet weak, according to the time, die for the ungodly?
7. For scarcely for a just man does anyone die; for perhaps for a good man would anyone dare to die?
8. But God commends his charity in us, because when we were yet sinners, according to the time,
9. Christ died for us: much more, therefore, now being justified in his blood, we shall be saved from wrath by him.
10. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son; much more being reconciled we shall be saved in his life.
6. For what reason did Christ, while we were yet ungodly, yet weak with the infirmity of sin, when the appointed time came and the weeks of Daniel were fulfilled, die for us, if not (for one reason) to show God’s charity towards us, and give us an immoveable ground of hope. It is extremely rare for any man voluntarily to die for another however just and holy. Rare, not absolutely
unheard of; there are undoubtedly instances in which, for the sake of a just man, and a benefactor of his own—a good man—another has been known to lay down his life. But God’s charity towards us has been shown in this, that when we were not just and holy, but ungodly and sinners, not his friends but his enemies, Christ died for us, when the time appointed came. Can we possibly have a stronger ground for hope? Having died for us when we were sinners, will he not, now that we are justified, save us from wrath?
10. We shall be saved in his life. The life of Christ includes his omnipotence. To him all power is given. If, in his mortal life, still subject to death, and when mankind were lost in sin, Christ redeemed them by dying for them, what will he not do for those whom he has justified and forgiven, and to whom he has imparted the graces of his Spirit, now that he lives again, glorious and immortal, wielding all power in heaven and earth? Is it conceivable that he will not, or that he cannot, bring to glory those whom he has so redeemed?
11. And not only so, but we also glory in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
11. We glory, not alone in the hope of the glory of the Sons of God: not only in the tribulations, which directly lead and tend to that glory: but we glory also in God himself, as our God, and in Jesus Christ, as our Reconciler. That we have God for our Friend and Father; and that we have Christ as our means of reconciliation. This is the fourth effect of justification. (57)