Romans 5:5-10

Why the Spirit was given. While we were still sinners.

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"5And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5)

We had actually visited this verse three Sundays in a row. However, it wasn't until this past Sunday's study hour that we as a group discovered more practical applications to our lives, all within the framework of the New Covenant. I wish you were here to witness everything because there is no way I could adequately report everything I heard.

The Holy Spirit is given to us by God because only He can do what the law cannot. The law can regulate man’s external behaviors, but it cannot show them God’s love or change man from within to love Him back. Last week, we studied Jeremiah 31:31-34, in which God foretold the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The work of the law on someone can only be considered successful if it leads them to the Redeemer (Galatians 3:24). Once it has completed its task, it releases the believer’s hands into the capable hands of Christ. And he now works powerfully in them through the Holy Spirit, who spreads God’s love throughout their hearts (Romans 5:5). This love accomplishes what the law cannot:

Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4)


6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7(For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) 8But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? (Romans 5:6-10)

Paul’s repeated emphasis on “while we were still sinners” in the preceding passage appears to point to the significance of a special timing of our salvation. It means that God provided a way for us to be saved before we had any qualifications to enter His kingdom.

Abraham received the same grace from God: he was declared righteous not only by faith, but also before he was circumcised (Romans 4:11), which was an absolute requirement for those under the Old Covenant.

Perhaps we should return to Romans 4:5, where the importance of faith over works is emphasized even more forcefully:

But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness. (Romans 4:5)

This truth eliminates any possibility of boasting in personal merit and instead focuses everything on Christ’s work alone. This is a huge relief for the sin-sick soul seeking redemption, and Jesus’ promise of an easy yoke and a light burden is greatly appreciated.

Which of these are you? Are you one who relies on the keeping of the law to gain the approval of others, or are you one who collapsed under the weight of the law and sought relief at the foot of the cross?

Nghi Nguyen

- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen

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