Book of Romans Bible Studies
Romans 5:1-2 - Grace by which we stand (and the tale of the two birds)
by F Gordon
Morning Saints! Last time we looked through Romans Chapter 4 at the life of
Abraham - about faith and justification and how he believed in a God that
could bring life out of death. His body was as good as dead and his wife
was well beyond the age of childbearing, but Abraham believed.
In this study we're going to look at Romans 5, the first two verses. Before we get there,
however, there's a 'therefore' at the start of Chapter 5 where Paul writes in
light of everything that's gone before. So that's where I want to start.
Raised for our justification
Romans 4:23 'Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed
to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him
who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because
of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.'
You have these two great truths of the gospel; that God delivered up His
one and only son and He also raised His one and only Son for our
justification. The delivered up part is an amazing concept, that God would
deliver up His son unto death, but He did that because of His great love,
like some of the songs we sung this morning.
Romans 8:32 'he who did not spare His own son but delivered Him up for us
all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.'
God was willing to deliver up His one and only Son. Isaiah 53 writes that
surely he has borne our afflictions and our iniquity, and the Lord has laid
on Him the iniquity of us all. It goes on to say, that it pleased the Lord
to do this, to inflict Him, to bruise Him. We will for all eternity be
grateful that the Father was willing to pay the price and bring us the
freedom that we have. You have this thought in Romans 4:25, first,
delivered up, and second, being raised for our justification. The fact that
he was raised from the dead is proof that the sin issue and that sin, has
been dealt with. Had He not been raised it would have left you in a neutral
position, the past being dealt with but nothing for the future. He was
raised for our justification.
Romans 5:9 says 'Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we
shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we
were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been
reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
This is the importance of the resurrection, this is why we can be justified
in God's eyes because He has been raised from the dead and we have been
included in Him and placed in Him.
Romans 5:18 'therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all
men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the
free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.'
The great thing about the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that it produces
life, life that we can now partake of, which produces justification. Not
only as a position of standing before God but in experience. Before you get
into Chapter 5 you've got these two aspects of being delivered up and being
A good picture in the Old Testament of this double aspect of God's working
is in Leviticus.
The Cleansing of a Sinner
Leviticus 14:1 'Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 this shall be the
law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: he shall be brought to the
priest. 3 And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall
examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, 4 then the
priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and
clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. 5 And the priest shall
command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running
water. 6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the
scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of
the bird that was killed over the running water. 7 And he shall sprinkle it
seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall
pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open
Whenever you see leprosy in the Bible it's always a picture of sin so this
passage is about the cleansing of a sinner. One bird was clean and pure,
and killed in an earthen vessel over running water. Now this speaks of the
first aspect of Christ's life, that He was pure, clean and holy. This bird
was killed inside an earthen vessel meaning that the Holy One took on
humanity, a human frame of a body and chose to lay aside His right to act
as God. This bird was killed over running water which in scripture is a
picture or metaphor for the Holy Spirit. Hebrews writes about Christ
through the Eternal Spirit offering Himself to the Father. One bird was to
be slain in an earthen vessel over running water - a picture of the Lord
Jesus Christ dying for your sins and for mine. The second bird was also
clean but it had to be fully identified with the first bird. The priest
sprinkled the blood of the first bird over the top of the second bird and
then it was taken out into the field and set free. The second bird is a
picture of the resurrection of Christ, fully identified with the first bird
in it's death and sacrifice but taken out into an open field and set free.
A couple of weeks ago I heard this commotion in the garage. Well, my dogs
in hot pursuit and he's up on my bench knocking everything over trying to
get a bird. In the end he had the bird cornered down the back of the
cabinet so I reached down with only enough room for my arm to get in and
managed to grab the bird. He didn't peck me or anything so I took him
outside. Have you ever looked into a bird's eyes? They are really piercing,
they almost look right through you. He gave me this look, like what are you
going to do now? The dog was jumping up thinking this is going to be a
little snack before his main meal. This verse came to my mind; that the
priest was to take the bird that was fully identified with the sacrifice of
the other bird, the pains of death were all over this free bird and the
priest took it outside and let it go. It was quite neat to do that, this
bird had escaped death, my dog was going to have him. In the Old Testament
God has given little pictures of what Christ would do in his death and his
Peace with God
Romans 5:1 'Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with
God through our Lord Jesus Christ'
Therefore in light of all that sacrifice, the first result of
justification, of him rising from the dead and atoning for sin is peace
with God. Now everyone has a different concept of the word peace if we'd
been around in the 60s we would have seen Chris in a tie-dye shirt walking
around saying 'peace dude'. The peace symbol was everywhere and it meant no
more war, no more hostility, just live in harmony. In the New Age they are
looking more for peace within, peace within communities and with one
another. Some talk about peace in the age of retirement, older people want
to enter into the elder age where there's no more danger or conflict. Where
they can be at rest in their last year's on earth. I see many of them on
the golf course where they put me in danger.
In this passage it's a different kind of peace. When the Bible talks about
peace it means peace with God and the peace of God, they're two very
different things. You cannot experience the peace of God which is in
Philippians 'that surpasses all understanding' unless you first have peace
with God. In Romans 5:1 it's saying the result of justification is that we
have peace with God. God is no longer hostile toward mankind because He has
fully met all His righteous demands on His Son, on the cross. There is no
longer the barrier, the veil has been torn and access is now available to
go toward God because the standard has been met. His justice and His
righteousness have been met by the Lord Jesus Christ, the war is over there
is peace with God. It's like a king with guilty rebellious subjects who
says the war is over there is peace, the standard has been met and He is
free to bestow grace and love upon all that come to Him.
I read recently that in the last 300 years there's been 286 wars in Europe
alone. The question is always one of peace, peace with one another but more
directly we need peace with God. Our job is to let people know that God is
not hostile toward them anymore, the standard has been met, the doors are
open. Come unto the Lord, most people don't know that God is not hostile
toward them any longer. He's asking them to repent and receive His free
I read an article the other week about Japanese soldiers who were still
holding their posts from World War II. There was one account of soldiers on
the islands of the Philippines handing in their rifles 30 years after the
war had ended. You might think how can that be but the Philippines has
about 7,000 islands. The war had finished a long time ago but they were
still holding their posts, and it's the same with humanity, the war is
over, God has dealt with sin but people still approach Him as though He's
The first result is peace with God, a simple thing but some Christians
still see Him as hostile toward them, they don't realize the sin issue has
been dealt with. They are afraid of death, they have no assurance. What do
they do with the enemy's darts and accusations if they don't realize we
have peace with God? The Old Testament concept of peace was wrapped up in
the word Shalom.
The Peace of God
Isaiah 32:17 'The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of
righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.'
In other words the work of the Lord Jesus Christ produces peace, and the
effect of righteousness, my Bible says, is quietness and assurance forever.
For those that know they have peace with God it produces quietness and
assurance forever. I knew from the day I gave my life to the Lord that
between me and God everything was okay and it wasn't going to change.
Isaiah goes on to say;
Isaiah 32:18 'My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure
dwellings, and in quiet resting places, 19 Though hail comes down on the
forest, And the city is brought low in humiliation. 20 Blessed are you who
sow beside all waters, Who send out freely the feet of the ox and the
The effect of righteousness brings contentment into your life, one of
peace, rest, and assurance even though there's going to be trouble. Isaiah
goes on to say 'blessed are you who sow beside all waters', that's our job
to share about the peace that we have, peace with God.
He is our Peace
There is one more scripture concerning peace I want to look at because it
is more than just a thing, it is a person.
Ephesians 2:11 'Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh,
who are called uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision made in
the flesh by hands, 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being
aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of
promise, having no hope and without God in the world.'
That was our position;
Eph 2:13 'But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been
brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who
has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments
contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the
two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in
one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He
came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were
near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.'
We quite often used to sing a song:
'He is our peace,
Who has broken down every wall,
He is our peace, he is our peace'.
Peace is personified, if you have peace with God you have a person and Paul
states He has broken down the walls. There are two types of walls; one
between the Jew and the Gentile; He's taken away the differences between
humanity, rich, poor, black, white, yellow, all may boldly approach Him now
through Christ. There is no division between Jew and Gentile anymore. The
second is the enmity that the law produced, the offence to God's character
by us breaking His law, He's taken that away. If you have peace you have a
person, the Lord Jesus Christ He is the peace between God and man, the
Prince of Peace as Isaiah states. When Paul says in Romans 5 we have peace
with God this is what we have, we have a person the Lord Jesus Christ who
has met all God's demands.
A completely new position
Romans 5:1 'Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with
God through our Lord Jesus Christ 2 through whom also we have access by
faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory
If you have ever been denied access to your car or your house it's a real
pain, but Jesus is like a master key. If you've ever known anyone that had
access to the Queen or the President or someone really important you think
'wow'. This is what Paul is saying, we have access through Christ to the
King of all Kings to the One who created all things. Access is such a
simple word but what it contains is deep. Paul goes on to say; 'into this
grace in which we stand', so the believer is given a completely new
position which is the result and the benefit of justification. The believer
is given a new standing and a new position before God and it's one of
grace. Ephesians 1:6 'You're fully 'accepted in the beloved', and Ephesians
2:6 'you're seated in the heavenlies', these are positional truths. You're
loved with the same love the Father has for His Son which he now bestows
upon you and I. In John 17.23 Jesus prayed to his Father he said;
'I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that
the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have
You are loved with the same love, accepted in His son, amazing. William
Newell had a few things to say about grace and I want to share them with
The nature of grace
'Grace is God acting freely according to his own nature, as love, with no
promises or obligations to fulfil, enacting of course righteously in view
of the cross. Grace therefore is uncaused in the recipient, it's cause lies
wholly in the giver, in God.' (In other words there is nothing in you that
actually deserves grace). 'Grace cannot act whether either deserved or by
ability. Grace does not help, it is absolute it does all. The flesh has no
place in the plan of grace, this is the great reason why grace is hated by
the proud natural mind of men. For this very reason the true believer
rejoices for he knows that in him, that is in his flesh, no good thing
dwells yet he finds God glad to bless him just as he is.'
The place of man under grace
'He has been accepted in Christ who is his standing, he is not on
probation' (many christians live as though they are). 'As to his life past
it does not exist before God, he died at the cross and Christ is his life.
Grace once bestowed is not withdrawn, for God knew all the human exigencies
beforehand. His action was independent of them not dependent on them.'
The proper attitude of man under grace
'To believe and to consent to be loved while unworthy is the great secret.'
(It's an amazing one' 'To believe and to consent to be loved even though
you're unworthy, that is the great secret, to rely on God's chastening hand
as a mark of his kindness.'
Things which gracious Souls discover
'To hope to be better is to fail to see yourself in Christ only' (We all
hope to be better but hoping to be better is to fail to see yourself in the
position that God has put you). 'To be disappointed with yourself is to
have believed in yourself. To be discouraged is unbelief as to God's
purpose and His plan of blessing for you. To be proud is to be blind for we
have no standing before God in ourselves. The lack of divine blessing
therefore comes from unbelief and not from failure of devotion.'
For we are His workmanship
Ephesians 2:1-2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according
to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons
It's amazing that you're even saved when you think about that, because we
don't realise the extent to which our hearts and minds are held under the
power of the prince of the air, his effect is everywhere. He has absolute
hatred for God and he will continue to do so.
Ephesians 2.3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts
of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were
by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in
mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we
were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you
have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in
the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might
show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ
Even in the ages to come we will never stop marvelling at God's kindness
and His grace toward us and all that he did for us in the person of the
Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not
of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should
in other words all of salvation is the activity of God from beginning to
end, you cannot attain a right standing before God and neither can you
maintain that standing before God. It is a work that He does and it's His
work from beginning to end. Then Paul goes on to say;
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good
works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The beauty about grace is that it's a work of God, He has done everything
for you. He now holds you in that position. But grace is not just taken and
then you live your own life, it's actually verse 10 'for we are his
workmanship'. Now you have come into this great relationship with God where
you've been given peace with God and He is no longer hostile toward you,
you've been given a standing in grace, a position in which you stand that
He maintains. Out of your love for Him, you allow Him to work in your life
for His purpose. 'For you are his workmanship', we are His, not our own.
Quite often with our children we try to work things out for them, we try,
but they're God's as well. So the outworking of grace is that we allow God
to do with us whatever he wants, to take us wherever he wants. We all have
different callings in which God will use us on a day-by-day basis.
In the last part of Romans 5.2 he says that not only do we have this grace
in which we stand, but 'we rejoice in hope of the glory of God'.
Do you remember when we looked up the glory of God in Romans 3, 'for all
men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God'. The glory of God is
God's character it is His Holy, righteous nature. When it says that all men
have fallen short, that's what it means. No man can live up to the standard
of God's character except one, the Lord Jesus Christ. It says of Him in
John 1.14 '...we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the
Father, full of grace and truth'. In John 1.18 'no man has ever seen God at
any time; the only unique Son... He has declared Him (...brought him out
where he can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known).'
In other words when they looked at the Lord Jesus Christ they saw the
Father. They saw Him in the way that Jesus lived and acted. They saw the
life of the Father, glory revealed. Paul is explaining that we rejoice in
the hope of the glory of God. Yes you've been given peace with God, yes you
have a standing in God, but we rejoice in the hope that now God's character
may be brought out and lived amongst his people so that God can be seen.
This is what Paul is rejoicing, exactly the same as Ephesians 2, 'we are
his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works'. Colossians 1:27
'Christ in you, the hope of glory'. That person who is our peace, He is our
only hope of glory. Many commentaries on this Colossians passage look to
the hope of glory at the end when our bodies are renewed and we're at home
with God. Yes, this passage is also future tense, but I think Paul's intent
is actually present tense. There is hope for here and now, that God's life
and character can be seen - present continuing.