Romans 5 & 6 Again: From the Cosmic To The Personal

Awhile back I wrote that we need to dismantle the mental wall we have constructed between Romans 5 and Romans 6, because…

There is not a change in subject matter between Romans 5 and 6.

Here’s another pointer to that basic truth:

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:17-21 ESV).

Thus ends Romans 5. Now look at the ending of Romans 6:

 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23 ESV)

Do you see how Paul is almost quoting what he said earlier. The free gift is mentioned, and righteousness/sanctification is the way to eternal life.

There is a shift between Romans 5 and 6, but it isn’t change in subject matter. Rather it is a narrowing of focus from the worldwide salvation to how you and I work it out in our personal lives. Paul moves from the cosmic scope of the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Great Commission, to assigning us the task of working on bringing our hands and feet and voices into submission to the risen Lord.


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