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The Hundred-Eightieth (Romans Part 9)

Updated: Feb 16

Last week we finished out chapter four of Romans, where Paul completed his discussion of Abraham and Sarah and how Abraham's faith is what gave him righteousness.  We're moving on to chapter five this week, and we're going to see how Paul pulls it back to the present and how the believers in Rome (and therefore we) can apply it to Yeshua and His sacrifice for us.    

Starting with the first word of verse 1, you know what we have to do.  We have to figure out what the "therefore" is "there for!"  Looking back to the last verse in chapter four, we see Paul is saying is that because Yeshua was delivered to death for our transgressions/sins/trespasses, we can be justified, and our justification happens as a result of our faith.  In verse 1, he says because of this justification we have peace with YHWH, but when you look at the original Greek you find that what Paul said is really deeper than that.  

We see the word peace, but this is translated from the Greek word eirene, which certainly means peace, but it comes from the word eiro.  Eiro means to join, tie together into a whole.  So, in the context of what Paul is talking about, the justification we get through faith brings us to wholeness with YHWH.  Remember that sin separates us from YHWH (Isaiah 59:2), so the picture Paul is putting together here is that our justification removes that separation and brings us back to the oneness man had with YHWH before Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit.

The other interesting bit of information is that the first definition for eirene in Thayer's Greek Lexicon is "state of national tranquility, exemption from rage and havoc of war."  This is significant because we are involved in a war between good and evil, light and dark (John 1:5).  Our justification, based on our faith, exempts us from being a casualty of that war.  Without this exemption, we would end up suffering the second, permanent death (Revelation 20:14-15), the death of the body and soul at the final judgment (Matthew 10:28).

When we move on to verse 2, we see the rest of the thought Paul started in verse 1.  It's really difficult, though, to figure out what he's saying in this verse, even when you look at all the different translations of it.  Looking at the original Greek, and putting it together with verse 1 helps us understand what Paul means here.  The first word we're going to look at is prosagoge, which is translated to "access" in most translations.    

Prosagoge comes from the words pros, which means with, or towards, and ago, which means come.  In other words, it means to come toward, or come near.  HELPS Word-Studies tells us this is referring to a close, intimate interaction: A face-to-face interaction.  Paul's saying that not only do we have a restoration of the oneness relationship with YHWH through our justification (verse 1), we also are able to have intimate, face-to-face interactions with Him (verse 2).  Simply because of our faith in His Son.

The next word we come to that requires a deeper look is kauchaomai, which is translated to boast.  The word boast doesn't really capture the idea of the Greek word used by Paul.  The root of this word is auxen, which means neck, so what the word is conveying is less of an attitude of pridefulness and more of just living with your head held high.  HELPS Word-Studies puts it like this: Living with God-given confidence.

Before we put this into the context of the end of verse 2, we need to also look at the word elpis, which is translated to hope.  When people use the word hope these days, they talk about something they have no idea will happen or not.  For instance, "I hope this event goes well."  This Greek word is not that.  It is meant to express the expectation of something that is sure to happen.  In other words, not wishing something to happen, but knowing it is going to happen and anticipating that occurrence.  If we were to use the word hope like this, we would say something like, "I hope the sun rises tomorrow." In todays phraseology, the idea of elpis, would be us saying, "I'm looking forward to the sun rising tomorrow."

So, when we put those two ideas together in context, we see that Paul is saying based on our justification through faith in Yeshua, we live with our heads held high, confidently, in anticipation of YHWH's glory (or in anticipation of when His glory will be seen).  This is contrasted from an unjustified sinner, who is wanting to avoid, or even maybe dreading, YHWH's glory.  We were given a picture of this in the account of the fall of man, when Adam and Eve were hiding from YHWH based on their sin (Genesis 3:8).    

In the next couple verses, Paul goes further, saying that we also live with God-given confidence through our problems/trials/sufferings/tribulations.  We do this because we know that ultimately these tribulations are for the better, for our improvement and growth.  Paul describes a progression from suffering to hope, and really the way we achieve this progression is by remembering what Yeshua went through to give us the justification we don't deserve.

Yeshua suffered way more, and way worse, than what we experience, or what we will experience, in our lives.  And He didn't deserve any of it.  By remembering that when we go through trials, we persevere, strengthening our character in the process.  In turn, we live with our heads held higher, which is our expression of hope we have.    

Continuing on, Paul wants to make sure the believers understand that this holding of our heads high does not give us shame (verse 5).  When you look at the worldly people, and their glorification of sin, holding their heads high while committing sexual immorality and even promoting those things, for example, the first word that comes to mind is shameful.  Paul is saying that our hope is not the same as what those worldly people do.  Holding our heads high, despite the mistakes we make when we sin, is because of YHWH's love given to us through the Holy Spirit.  But what does that mean?

Paul goes on to explain that Yeshua's death happened not only for those that are ungodly but at a time when those ungodly people were powerless to justify themselves, to remove their own sins and make them righteous.  By the way, the Greek word for ungodly here is the antonym of the Greek word that means respecting what is holy.  In other words, these are people that do not respect YHWH and His word.

The fact that Yeshua died for us, knowing that we could do nothing to repay Him, gives us even more confidence in His salvation.  The explanation for this logic that Paul gives is that you won't even see people give up their lives for someone righteous, let alone someone unrighteous (verses 6-8).  His sacrifice for those unrighteous shows His love and gives us the confidence to walk with our heads held high.

As we finish the first half of this chapter, we read that Paul takes the opportunity to help the believers understand that we can know YHWH will save us from the wrath He will pour out because if He loves us enough to die for us while we were sinners, He certainly loves us enough after we're justified to not subject us to His wrath.  It may seem a little odd that Paul throws this in here, but remember that these believers still had a lot of unresolved mysteries passed on to them from Yeshua's teachings.  

Even moments before His death, Yeshua was warning of some pretty heavy events that were going to take place.  He talked about the temple being destroyed, which was a double entendre between the actual temple and His body (John 2:19), He gave the disciples prophecy of this event when they asked (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21), and while bearing His cross, our cross, to the place where He would be crucified, He warned of how hard those times would be (Luke 23:26-31).  These were all references to the siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple that would occur in 70 AD.  

The believers had no idea what exactly Yeshua was talking about or when it would happen, so Paul was comforting them with the fact that they should trust YHWH will take care of them and save them from those times.  Just like those believers at that time, we have no idea what exactly will happen at the end, but we know based on the words of Yeshua in Revelation and the vision John received, that it will be terrifying, destructive and painful for those involved.  They didn't know how they would be saved through it, and neither do we.  But, we have the hope, the God-given confidence that those believers had.  And by that we are confident that YHWH will keep us from His wrath.

Next week, we'll finish studying Romans chapter 5.  Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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