June 13 Epistle Reading

Romans 5:1-10

[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:[2] By whom also we have access
by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the
glory of God.[3] And not only so, but we glory in
tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;[4]
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:[5] And hope
maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.[6] For when we
were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.[7]
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a
good man some would even dare to die.[8] But God commendeth
his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for
us.[9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we
shall be saved from wrath through him.[10] For if, when we
were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much
more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Origen in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans says:

"How we have access to grace through our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior himself tells us 'I am the door,' and 'No one comes to the Father except by me.'…This door is the truth, and liars cannot enter in by the door of truth. Again, this door is righteousness, and the unrighteous cannot enter in by it. The Door himself says, 'Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.' So neither the irascible nor the proud can enter in by the door of humility and gentleness. Therefore, if anyone wants to have access to the grace of God which according to the word of the apostle comes through our Lord Jesus Christ and in which Paul and those like him claim to stand, it is essential that he be cleansed of all the things which we have listed above. Otherwise those who do what is contrary to Christ will not be allowed to go in by that door, which will remain closed and keep out those who are incompatible with him."

"Why does Paul talk about the hope of glory and not just the glory itself? After all, Moses saw the glory of God, and so did the people of Israel when God's house was built. But this glory, which was visible, the apostle Paul dared to claim would pass away…whereas the hope here is of a glory which will never pass away. It is the glory mentioned in Hebrews in connection with Christ: 'He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature.'"

Chrysostom also discusses the grace from v2 in his Homilies on Romans 9…

"If God brought us near to himself when we were far off, how much more will he keep us now that we are near!…What grace is it to which we now have access? It is being counted worthy of the knowledge of God, being forced to abandon error, coming to a knowledge of the truth, obtaining all the blessings that come through baptism. For the purpose of His bringing us close was that we might receive these gifts…not only that we might have simple remission of sins and that we should be reconciled, but that we might also receive countless benefits…He unveils the whole of things to come…For this is the nature of God's grace. It has no end; it knows no bounds, but is on the advance at all times to greater things…Take an instance of what I mean. A person has acquired rulership and glory and authority, yet he does not stay in that status continuously, but is speedily cast out of it. If man does not take it from him, death comes, and is sure to seize it. But God's gifts are not of this kind: for neither man, nor occasion, nor crisis of affairs, nor even the Devil, nor death can come and cast us out of them. But when we are dead, we then more strictly speaking have possession of them, and continue enjoying them more and more."

Pelagius to a similar tune rejoices in the grace and hope in his "Commentary on Romans"…

"We have drawn near to God, because previously we were far away from him, and we stand, because previously we were flat on our faces. We rejoice in the hope that we shall possess the glory of God's children. What we hope for is so great that no one would try it on his own, in case it should be regarded as blasphemy, not as hope and as something which many people think is unbelievable because of its greatness."

Now about v3, St. Basil in his Homily 16 says:

"For those who are well prepared, tribulations are like certain foods and exercises for athletes which lead the contestant on to the inheritance of glory. When we are reviled, we bless; maligned, we entreat; ill-treated, we give thanks; afflicted, we glory in our afflictions…"

Ambrosiaster in "Commentary on Paul's Epistles" says about hope:

"Hope does not let us down, even though we are considered by evil people to be stupid and naive, because we believe in things which are impossible in this world. For we have in us the pledge of God's love through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

C.S. Lewis illustrated the necessity of adversity in an analogy in his book "Mere Christianity":

"…illustration of a person walking a dog. If the animal gets his lead wrapped around a post and tries to continue running forward, he will only tighten the lead the more. Both dog and owner are after the same end, forward motion, but the owner must resist the dog by pulling him opposite. The master, sharing the same intention but understanding better than the dog where he wants really to go, takes an action precisely opposite to that of the dog's will…"

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