Much More

One study tip that yields great results is to look for repeated words and phrases. Many times the authors of Scripture, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, repeat things for emphasis. But you won’t notice these repeated words or phrases unless you slow down in your Bible reading and read the passage over and over. Then when you find these repeated words and phrases you can stop and meditate, maybe even ask questions about why these words and phrases would be repeated. Let me share how this recently worked with me.

In the mornings before I get out of bed I usually review passages I’ve memorized and recently it was time to review Romans 5. One benefit of memorizing Scripture is it aids in using these study tips I just mentioned. And if you have a chapter of Scripture or maybe a whole Psalm in what I call ‘the back pocket of your mind’, it allows you to at any time and in any place slow down and pay greater attention to what’s in the text.

Much More

The phrase “much more” occurs four times in Romans 5. The first two appear in verses 9 and 10:

“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

Paul’s style in his epistles is to use logical arguments. Here in verses 9 and 10 he is using an argument to give his readers assurance of their justification, solid confidence that the God they have placed their faith in for salvation will be completely for them until the end. Both of these verses are making a similar argument: since X, much more Y. John Piper says this is “heart-assuring logic” and adds: “If logic was ever set on fire, surely it is in these two verses.” The heart-assuring logic of Romans 5:9-10 is this: If God has done the hardest thing, you can be sure he will do everything else that’s necessary. God did the hardest thing by sending his Son to die while we were his enemies. If he did that, bringing us justification and reconciliation, surely, when he comes to judge the world in wrath at the end of the age, he will save us from that wrath into eternal life with Christ.

The second time these words are repeated is in verses 15-17:

“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. for the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one, 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.”

Again in this passage, Paul is using similar logic: If X, much more Y. This time he’s comparing the consequences of Adam’s transgression with the results of Christ’s sacrificial death. It’s a given that because of Adam’s sin, people died and death reigned. But do you see here an increase in emphasis to the logical argument? Forgive the use of the words, but I can only think of the word ‘super-size’ to describe it. Here he is saying that there isn’t a one-to-one correspondence between the results of Adam’s sin and the results of Christ’s sacrificial death. It’s not one to one, it’s one to a million! Maybe we could call it the super-sized logic of gospel assurance! Yes, death reigned through the one man Adam, but much more will those who receive the abundance of grace reign in life through Jesus Christ.

The first passage was about giving assurance, but the second passage super sizes our assurance, causing us to wonder at our merciful and gracious God and how great our salvation really is.

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